It’s been over 170 years since the first women’s rights convention was held in America. While women have made significant progress in this country and around the world since then, there is still a long way to go before we reach true equality. So what can you do to support the gender equality movement? There is plenty you can do to help the cause, no matter how much time, energy, or money you have to contribute. Here are a few ways you can make a difference for the girls and women in your neighborhood and around the world.
Researching the movement is the first step to becoming an active participant, as opposed to a passive supporter. It can be intimidating to join the conversation with experienced activists, but keep in mind that there was a point when every expert was a beginner.
Begin by reading books and articles about the history of the movement, or watch speeches from notable activists and politicians. Research the issues that have the most significant impact on women and other marginalized groups in your area and worldwide, and check out which groups are tackling these problems. Many organizations have local chapters that are always seeking members, volunteers, and donations. Stay up to date on the local and national conversation by subscribing to the women’s issues newsletters from your favorite publications or perusing Causes.com to learn which bills on gender equality are moving through Congress. Keep in mind that education isn’t just a one-time thing; continue to stay informed about the issues and the initiatives taken to tackle them.
Call your representatives
Speak up for yourself and the women in your community by letting your elected officials hear your voice. If there is legislation making its way through the government, contact your representatives to let them know what you think about it. Politicians are voted into office to fight for their constituents and are open to hearing your ideas and suggestions. You can find your representatives’ and senators’ contact information by visiting the official House of Representatives website and official Senate website, respectively. You can also reach out to your local elected officials and state representatives, whose contact information can be found on the website Open States, as they can have a significant impact on your daily life
If you have the time to spare, consider volunteering with a local organization that supports women and your community at large. You can help out at a food bank, women’s shelter, health clinics, legal aid organizations, or any others that stand out to you. Even giving an hour or two of your time can make a huge difference. Look for local opportunities using a website like Volunteer Match or by typing “volunteer opportunities in (your city)” into a search engine.
Those who have neither the time nor energy to volunteer in person can also donate to their favorite organizations, either in the form of money or objects like food, toiletries, school supplies, and toys. Groups rely on monetary donations to support their causes and remain operational. You can give to organizations that are local to your area or research charitable organizations on a website like Charity Navigator.
Invest in a female entrepreneur
The World Vision microloan program connects people with hardworking female entrepreneurs from around the world. With your donation, they can start or grow their own businesses, providing the opportunity for these women to care for their families, run successful small businesses, and build their communities. Your donation is continually paid forward, as loan payments are reinvested in other entrepreneurs, helping more and more women gain financial independence.
Spend your money thoughtfully
Never underestimate the power you have as a consumer. You can pledge to not purchase anything run by companies with a bad track record of workers’ rights, environmental considerations, or associations with organizations that inhibit the gender equality movement. Be mindful about the businesses you support and what causes they support, and instead, consider shopping at small, local shops and women- and LGBTQ-owned companies.
The best way to grow and strengthen the movement is to pass your knowledge forward. Use what you have learned through your research and volunteer work to teach your family members, children, and friends about the issues like sexism, racism, homophobia, and more. Be prepared to have some difficult discussions, and provide your loved ones with helpful resources and the support they need to continue their education. If you need help having these conversations with your family and friends, check out online resources like this guide by the Southern Poverty Law Center.
The women’s rights movement is a serious effort to advance gender equality that requires the support of people like you. With these measures, you can help to donate your time, energy, and money to local and global organizations that help women.
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